"It's almost over." It's a thought that runs through my head a lot. "Less than 40 days until you get to the coast probably."
"Leave me alone," another thought chimes in.
"At 25 miles a day you have only 27 walking days left,"
"If you average 30 miles a day, that's what you do, then its only 22 or 23 walking days left."
"I know," that voice, it's irritatingly persistent. I manage to run my thoughts onto something else, but it always jumps back in.
"You're only 240 miles from Phoenix. You'll be in Arizona tomorrow."
One voice always pushing me on, revving me up, the other voice puts fingers in its ears and goes blah blah blah until the first voice shuts up. It's hard to escape this struggle.
"String Theory says that everything is made up of the same string substance," My iPod goes on, one of the many science podcasts I distract myself with when I need it one or two hours out of a long day. "And the way they appear differently is by vibrating in different ways, so you see -"
"DUDE!!! If you try, you might make it to the coasts by the 24th of May!" Chimes in the first voice.
"I'm trying to learn here, leave me alone, now I have to rewind it."
Sometimes I know exactly what I want, other times it's like this. Monotonous thought, routine, I hate routine. This circularity is the kind of thing I usually walk away from and come back to later with new tools of thought when I can actually make some headway. Normally I walk away, that says something huh? The problem is the further I walk, the louder the voices argue, and if I stop they just go completely insane with fervor.
Break the routine. Break. I need a break. This is the thought as I roll around in another dirt field another cold desert night. I smell, more precisely, my favorite shorts smell after 5 days on but I don't like any other pair. It's 3 am and I'm not falling asleep.
Then it's 8 am and I'm awake again. I need a break, it's funny how a repetitive thought before you sleep can wake you up like a call to war. By 10 am I have new tires and I know I am not going anywhere. Break the routine. There's a few hotels in town but none of them are donating a room tonight, I can see that. I buy in, sell out, break down, get a room somewhere with a pool and laundry and HBO, a place next to a McDonald's. It's not what I should have done, I should have walked to Duncan, AZ today and tried to take a break there, I didn't feel so bad this morning despite the lack of sleep and rough days behind me. it's the first time I've paid for a place to sleep in almost 8 months.
I'm in debt, I'm at peace with that, but it's true. A hotel room, for a homeless and unemployed guy, it's not cheap and doesn't help the cause in anyway, but it does accomplish something, one thing. Break the routine.
There's a crucial step missing somewhere in this whole quest. It's a part of the Heroes journey, not that I am a hero, but there's a reason literary journeys have steps, we need them. The short version is that the Hero 'Refuses to Return' (to the normal world) and then later through a multi-step process, returns anyway. In survival school, the final night we had a 14 mile solo walk in the moonlight back into camp to think, reflect and re-enter society. Something tells me that won't work here.
I don't know what it is, I don't know if there is a way back and I know I don't want to go back. I also know unless something big and unexpected happens, I am going to have to return to that world in some way. I just don't want to go back to the life I had before, dreaming back on the one glorious note that graced the song of my life. I see the longing in others. I've contacted and kept in contact with people who have done this before. BJ Hill, who I called Bizarro, suddenly and happily started calling and texting me as of last week.
"Can I give you some advice." he said, it wasn't a question. "Stay on the road. It's not great out here right now." I've heard the sentiment from others. I think it's because we've all gone the same way at some point, we've all had the same trials and thoughts, we all walked or ran or biked or drove off for the same reason. Break the routine.